Frank Miller Batman Tactics
By no stretch of the imagination am I a theory-crafter when it comes to games. I don’t have the gift to analyze a set of stats for a wargame unit and immediately see the pros and cons of it. Most of my strategic epiphanies occur after a game where an opponent has thoroughly demonstrated my lack of skill. So far I’ve played two games of BMG and while I have learned some important lessons I still have a ways to go, especially when it comes to picking a band. I tend to think clearer when I’m writing so I thought I’d write an article to help get my thoughts together.
At first my plan was to analyse my band as a group. A band, by the way, is BMG term for “army.” Predictably it started running long and rambling so I decided it may be better to first look at each of my band-members individually and come up with some ideas on using them. Now I’m sure Crits Kill People did this better but it’s as much for my own mental exercise as educating my readers that I write this.
Frank Miller Batman
The first model I bought for BMG was the Frank Miller Batman. I was recently re-introduced to Batman comics during the Court of Owls storyline at the launch of the New 52 and started reading some older stories, including The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. When I started playing BMG this model was a natural choice. As much as I possibly can I’m trying to include models which I think look cool, rather than trying to craft the perfect force.
Since there’s currently some debate over whether Knight Models wants to release the rules for the models for free in addition to the main rules I am going to refrain from giving a full recap of the rules here. I will only give as much as is required for my analysis.
The first thing that comes to mind is Batman fanboy Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman theme-song. Batman is good at punching dirty turkeys in their turkey necks. His combo means that camping his full attack value give him 6 dice on the attack, wounding on 3+ and doing two stun per successful blow. While it’s nice to roll 6 dice on attack his combo also lets him split his dice between attack and defense efficiently. His high defense, bat-armour and endurance means that he can take a beating while his high willpower lets him stay effective.
Like most of the Batman models available in the game Frank Miller Batman has the sneak attack ability. This allows Batman to negate any defense counters an enemy has set aside. At first glance this makes high defense enemies a tempting target. Having a skill which blanks 3-4 action counters placed by an enemy seems like a good deal. The problem is that enemies with high defense are also harder to hit even before they have to make their defense roll.
The downside to sneak attack is that it can be difficult to land. With a 30cm sight range Batman is going to have to be outside of line of sight of his target to launch a sneak attack. The best way to manage this is to stay far enough back from a ledge as to be out of sight, then walk off, bat-cape down and finish your movement into base contact with an enemy. To successfully pull this off requires your opponent leaving his models within the perfect range for a sneak attack.
This also means that Frank Miller Batman would have trouble chasing down an enemy. He can do it, batclaw lets him move quickly around the board, but it’s likely to take multiple turns locked in combat before he takes down his target.
One of the most obvious weaknesses of Batman and his allies is the lack of blood damage. Stun damage is only temporary and it’s possible to knock out a goon and have him get right back up in the next turn. Sure, you can pummel an unconciouse enemy to trade stun for blood damage but this assumes that enemy didn’t wake up between turns and you are able to spend the time doing so.
With the difficult of landing a successful sneak attack and otherwise having a hard time hitting high defense targets Frank Miller Batman seems like an ambush predator, waiting for his prey to make the wrong move before swooping in for the kill. I’m thinking that he’s best for area denial and preventing opponents from reaching their objectives. They will have to choose between attempting to score and taking a sneak attack or losing victory points. This ambush style is useful as a player who moves to an objective and expects a counter-attack will naturally camp defense and a successful sneak attack negates this.
The best objective to take for a Frank Miller Batman led band is the Batsignal. Scoring 4 points a turn is something your opponent cannot ignore. Since Batman doesn’t have to stand on the objective to score it once it is activated he can wait in the perfect ambush position. If your opponent decides to split up and score all of their objectives you should be able to cross the table quickly and find an exposed henchman to take down. As for other objectives it depends on my enemy. Ammo is good if they don’t have any long range weapon users, Titan isn’t very useful with firearms since it won’t help increase the dice they roll on the attack or their chances of wounding. These objectives also score well enough that if the Batsignal is on and you control your own Ammo objective you will be scoring 7 VP turn.
So Frank Miller Batman doesn’t do a lot of damage reliably, especially against high defense opponents. To give him his best advantage he needs to be stationary in a position where the enemy must approach him so he can land his sneak attack. If he does manage to down an enemy there’s no guarantee that the opponent will stay down. To use him successfully you must position yourself carefully, something the Batsignal objective lets you do.
This is my non-expert opinion. I’ve found writing this article a helpful tool to think tactically about my game. Readers would be best served by critically considering my points and deciding for themselves whether or not I am correct. If you disagree I would love to hear about in the comments. You can also find my on Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to subscribe for more.